7 Awesome Apps For Hassle-Free Travel
Back when we first started dating, we quickly discovered we both enjoyed blogging and photography, but we realized we also shared an intense passion for traveling. Nothing brings two people closer together than experiencing different cultures, food and places. At the same time, nothing will test each other’s patience more than when the unexpected happens while traveling. Delayed flights, unexpected detours or confusing subways are but a few things most travelers run into from time to time. Packing alone can be one of the biggest headaches especially when you try to pack light to avoid checking your luggage and paying those extra fees.
With the rise of smartphones and easy-to-use portable tablet computers, a ton of awesome travel-related apps are now available to help make your next trip a more pleasant experience. Not only will you save money and avoid frustrations; but since the time we wrote that original article, we’ve found several additional awesome apps you may not have tried yet. These apps will help you navigate city transportation routes, find deals on premium accommodations or even share your travel photos. Here are seven of our favorites that will help you enjoy a hassle free adventure.
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Embark NYC Subway: When we are in New York City, we often use the subway to get around. Not only do we avoid having to deal with the crazy traffic, we also enjoy a fast and cheap way to get around the city. Since it is the largest subway system in the world, It can get really confusing navigating efficiently to get where you want to go. With the multiple train numbers and routes, it’s easy to get lost if you’re not careful.
Embark NYC Subway is a free app that will instantly turn you into a subway pro. All you need to do is tell it your starting point and where you want to go, and Embark maps out the directions for you in an easy-to-follow list. It effortlessly directs you to the proper trains and transfers to get you to your destination in no time. Just tap any station name to see the current schedule of upcoming trains. If you are traveling with friends, you can also share your trips via email, text or Twitter. Embark offers apps for many additional cities including: Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington D.C., San Francisco and London.
Hotel Tonight: During our travels, we have frequently found ourselves in situations when we need to stay in a city overnight or have to stay an extra night on very short notice. Normally, if you want to stay in premium hotels without an advanced reservation it can get rather expensive. This is why we love Hotel Tonight, a free app for iPhone as well as Android smartphones that allows you to get exclusive, same-day deals on incredible hotels at savings up to 70 percent off regular rates.
Offers are posted every day starting at noon for over 60 cities worldwide including New York, Chicago, San Francisco and London to name a few. What we love the most about Hotel Tonight is their commitment to customer service and you can speak with live person anytime 24 hours a day as well as via email or in-app chat. We recently had an issue with a hotel duplicate charge and the folks at Hotel Tonight took ownership and intervened on our behalf with the hotel to delete the charge. Even though it wasn’t their fault, Hotel Tonight took ownership and made it a great experience. Highly recommended!
SkyMotion: Being prepared with the latest weather information is key to insure a smooth travel experience and there are numerous weather apps available to help you. One of the best we’ve found is Sky Motion. Unlike other weather apps, Sky Motion keeps it simple by telling you when it’s going to rain right down to the minute for your exact location. By using your smart phone’s built-in GPS and available weather radar information, Sky Motion gives you a precise precipitation forecast for the next two hours and updates itself every five minutes. In colder climates, it will detect and forecast snow, freezing rain, ice pellets and hail. We’ve tested it and found it amazingly accurate. The app is free and available for iPhone and Android smartphones.
In:Play: Long flights are always more enjoyable when you have your favorite music with you. For iPhone users, iTunes is usually their “go to” music player app but we recently found a better alternative. In:play is a new kind of music player focusing on what the developers call a “Deep Context” navigation system and a beautiful and intuitive user interface. In:Play gives you access to your entire iTunes music library. On screen gestures allow you navigate through your music library easily. Simply swipe forward and backwards through your playlists and just tap to play and pause. What we love most about this app is the intuitive on-screen controls and the ability to easily browse your music library without having to navigate endless screens and buttons. In:Play is available for purchase in the iTunes App Store for $1.19.
ThisLife: No trip is complete without taking plenty of photos and videos and; if you’re like us, the smartphone in your pocket is your camera of choice. Today’s cellphone cameras also make it easy to share your prized photos via Instagram, Facebook and Twitter or any of a multitude of social sharing sites. What if there was an automated way to not only share but back-up your photos and videos? Well that’s where ThisLife comes in handy.
ThisLife is a free app that lets you pull in all the pictures and videos you post on photo sites you already use, back-up everything safely in the ThisLife cloud and sync everything across your computer, iPhone, iPad and the web. Built-in search tools lets you easily find pictures and videos based on people and places tags you choose. You’ll never lose another photo or video again because everything is backed up to your own personal ThisLIfe account and you are always in full control over who has access to view your creations. While ThisLife is free to use, a paid upgrade is available for those users who require more storage space.
SocialCam: We not only enjoy sharing still photos of our trips, but we also love to capture our experiences via video. SocalCam, a free iOS app, is one of the easiest ways to capture, share and view videos on the iPhone or iPad. The beauty of this app is the way it lets users easily shoot and quickly edit videos utilizing vintage video filters, custom titles and soundtracks. Unlike other video apps designed the smartphones, SocialCam makes the editing process easy so that anyone can produce professional looking videos on the fly, right from your phone! The videos are easily sharable on social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr. You can even share videos via SMS and email. Friends can comment and like your videos, plus you can save any of the videos you create on your iPhone and iPad’s photo roll.
Twist: Many times when we travel, communication becomes a challenge when we’re on the go. Twist is a free app that lets you automatically text or email your family, colleagues and friends to let them know when you’ll be arriving. Whether you are driving or taking the public transportation, Twist will accurately calculate your arrival time to a specific destination using your iPhone’s built-in GPS and privately share that information with those you choose. If there is a delay, Twist automatically advises the people waiting for you. Twist merges map, traffic, calendar, SMS, photo, email, check-in and chat in one easy mobile application. Twist is a free app in the iTunes App Store
InstaWeather: Among photo sharing sites, Instagram is riding high. One of the more popular photo subjects is weather related images. This is especially true when traveling. InstaWeather is a free app that combines the best of both. InstaWeather allows you to share your photos and weather conditions at your current location by way of clever and creative graphical overlays. The result is a creative way to share all those travel photos with family and friends and to remember what the weather was like too. You can easily share you photo creations on Twitter, Facebook or even Instagram too.
There is no question smartphones and tablets have revolutionized the way we manage information. This is especially true when it comes to travel. Our mobile gadgets have become indispensable travel tools and we never leave home with our iPhones. These are some of our favorite travel related apps we rely on and have made our travel experiences much easier and much more fun! Do you have a favorite? Let us know. We’d love to hear for you.
About the authors:
Marty McPadden founder and CEO at PodJamTV Productions is a professional photographer, videographer, blogger, apple geek and a Production Supervisor at ESPN one of the largest sports network in the world. His vast knowledge in the above mentioned field will allow you our readers to tap into tools, apps, reviews and tips that he has learned and mastered over the years. How to’s and hacks that will allow you to have a richer online experience.
Misty Belardo-McPadden writer and producer at PodJamTV Productions is a blogger, designer and a self proclaimed Twitter-holic and an avid Facebook user. Enjoys travelling. Her experience with writing, designing, SEO and brand and advertising strategy will give readers a point of view of what happens behind the scenes in the digital sphere.
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